Crosses are often worn as an indication of commitment to the Christian faith, and are received as gifts for rites such as baptism and confirmation. Communicants of the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches are expected to wear baptismal cross necklaces at all times. In addition, many Christians believe that the wearing of a cross offers the wearer protection from evil. Some individuals, including Christians and non-Christians, may also wear cross necklaces as a fashion accessory.
"In the first centuries of the Christian era, the cross was a clandestine symbol used by the persecuted adherents of the new religion." Many Christian bishops of various denominations, such as the Orthodox Church, wear a pectoral cross as a sign of their order.
Most adherents of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church will wear a cross attached to either a chain or a matäb, a silk cord.[unreliable source?] The matäb is tied about the neck at the time of baptism, and the recipient is expected to wear the matäb at all times. Women will often affix a cross or other pendant to the matäb, but this is not considered essential.
In two highly publicised British cases, nurse Shirley Chaplin and British Airways flight attendant Nadia Eweida were disciplined for wearing cross necklaces at work, in breach of their employment terms. Both took their cases to the European Court of Human Rights; Chaplin's case was dismissed, while Eweida was awarded damages on the grounds that the UK government had failed to weigh her right to religious expression heavily enough. In light of such cases, in 2012 the former archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Communion, Lord Carey, and then head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, have urged all Christians to wear cross necklaces regularly.
Canadian actress Tricia Helfer wearing a cross necklace
American singer Cassie Ventura wearing a cross necklace
Belarusian-Russian singer Bianka wearing a cross necklace of the crucifix variant
German skier Jens Filbrich wearing a cross necklace
Swedish model Mini Andén wearing a cross necklace
A cross necklace of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul religious order
D-Crunch wearing a cross necklace
Indian actress Celina Jaitley wearing a cross necklace
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova wearing a cross necklace
Toofan wearing a cross necklace
Polish entrepreneur Miriam Shaded wearing a cross necklace
Russian president Vladimir Putin wearing a cross necklace
Individuals wearing or displaying either a cross or the fish symbol might belong to any of a number of Christian denominations or communities.
Most Christians who have worn crosses have probably not trivialized a core teaching of Jesus about renouncing self-centeredness, figuratively described as carrying one's cross. For them the symbol is perceived not as powerful magic, or as a lovely decoration to impress others, but as a reminder primarily to themselves of their commitment to one who laid down His life in love for friends and enemies.
In fact cross-wearers, and those depositing icons and other valuables in the graves of loved ones, probably considered themselves true to Christ and His Cross.
Consider, for example, dress and jewelry. An Orthodox Jewish male student may wear a yarmulke or a Moslem female student a headscarf, and Christian students of both sexes may wear crosses.
Most Orthodox Christians wear this cross for the rest of their lives.
At holy Baptism, every Orthodox Christian receives an image of the Precious Cross to be worn around the neck. From the moment of Baptism until the moment of death, every Orthodox Christian should wear the Cross at every moment.
From the fifth century onward, the cross has been widely worn as an amulet, and the novel Dracula treats it as a protection against vampires. Many Christians continue to hang polished miniatures of the cross around their necks.
The belief that the cross can ward off evil and protect the wearer goes back a long way.
A cross necklace is a Christian symbol, but it is also common enough in secular style that it may be worn by those for whom it has little or no meaning beyond the cultural or fashionable.
Attached to a cord or fine chain [the cross] is worn around the neck of nearly all Christians right from childhood until death.
The Matäb, an emblem of Christianity in Ethiopia, is a blue (sometimes black) silk cord tied around the neck of a child during the baptism ceremony.... Women may later append various elements on the M., though a simple cord is already considered a fully valuable M. The possible pendants include a cross.... They can be freely combined, none of them being essential.
In 1967, Hoxha proudly declared Albania to be the first completely atheistic state. It was once a chiefly Muslim country with a Catholic minority and small groups of Greek Orthodox in the south. From the onset of communist rule, all religions had to cut their ties with their centers abroad. practically all the priests who survived the initial persecutions were confined in prisons or work camps. Religious orders were abolished, and all religious rituals, including the celebration of the sacraments, were prohibited and punishable by the death penalty for those officiating. The people were not even allowed to have religious necklaces or to wear such things as small crosses.
Former nurse Shirley Chaplin, from Exeter, and Nadia Eweida, from Twickenham, who worked with British Airways, are taking their call for all employees to be able to wear a cross at work to the European Court of Human Rights.
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the Scottish Roman Catholic leader, are among those urging Christians to demonstrate their beliefs publicly after a series of cases placing religious freedom in the spotlight.